Friday, April 22, 2016

Indian media's moment of shame: Times Now, News X bat to save Hindutva terrorists, give twist to Malegaon case

It started soon after the BJP came to power. Times Now, the leading English news channels, was quite harsh on establishment.

The channel's face, Arnab Goswami, took on Lalit Modi, but soon it became clear that strings had been pulled and Goswami was no longer shouting. Lalit Modi case got a decent burial. 

India TV audience saw Arnab Goswami in a new avatar. He was shouting but was no longer attacking the ruling party. This was a clear shift from the past when he attacked UPA regime. 

But that was just the beginning. Just like Congress, BJP also has its share of 'bad guys'. But Times Now was no longer raising issues that would show BJP leaders in poor light. The constant target was Congress, once again.

So, either it was Sohrabuddin case or Ishrat Jahan fake encounter, Arnab Goswami was now giving twist to each and every story, in such a way that he ended being on the side of the BJP, saving and 'exonerating' the BJP leaders, while defaming and denouncing others. 

While Hindi TV channels like Zee News, India TV and Aaj Tak were toeing the official line, Times Now and News X also joined the race. It got so ugly that TV anchors were falling on the feet of the ruling party leaders to show how much subservient they are to the party. 

They never asked tough questions as to how Maya Kodnani who was sentenced to double life imprisonment for inciting mob to murder innocent women and children, was out of jail on parole in Gujarat. They didn't question how Babu Bajrangi was suddenly out of jail too.

But the worst was yet to come. Goswami's channel now goes all out batting for Hindutva extremists. The right-wing Hindutva terror network had been busted by ATS under Hemant Karkare, the brave-heart officer who was killed in Mumbai terror attack.

The role of the then ATS officer KP Raghuvanshi was not up to the mark. In fact, he faced allegations of being slow in pursuing these cases. But Times Now goes to the extent of giving legitimacy to Raghuvanshi, who was accused of botching up investigation in Malegaon and similar other cases. 

While blaming BJP or Congress is okay, it is sad to see how Goswami has become a mouthpiece for the RSS, and seems to be driven with a single agenda that is to help the Saffron terrorists' case in all these trials. 

This is possible by either creating confusion or spreading misinformation. Times Now is exactly doing this and this is criminal to say the least. It is shameful to see India's leading English news channel spreading canards and doing disservice to the nation. 

Late Hemant Karkare had painstakingly bust the network and cracked the cases. The result was arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Lt Col Srikant Purohit, Dayanand Pandey, Samir Kulkarni and many other members of the right-wing extremists' gang. 

But, TV channels like Times Now and News X are taking a line that is not just unethical but also shows how journalists have simply become tools to manipulate the opinion and tinker with cases, at the behest of the political masters. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Is Facebook India team soft on hate-mongers: Blocks sane voices but ignores hate speech, violence threats

It is an extraordinary situation in India, now as Facebook has repeatedly warned or blocked accounts of writers, activists and intellectuals with sane voices.

But the same Facebook is surprisingly soft on hate speech and accounts that share morphed images, indulge in misinformation and spread communalism.

The latest example is the manner in which Facebook blocked and warned Professor Ashutosh Kumar, after he shared a Navbharat Times post that exposed morphed content that was going viral on the social media website.

An image of a Muslim man who was embracing others, was morphed and a photo of an explosion was added, in it. Now this morphed image was being shared widely. When, Navbharat Times' report that exposed this mischief was posted by Ashutosh Kumar, he was asked to take it down.

Surprisingly, Ashutosh Kumar was told that his account would be shut, and later he was told that his account will be permanently closed.

While there is no dearth of Facebook accounts, mostly in Hindi, that share inflammatory content day in and day out, there is no action on them. These accounts, groups and pages are involved in sharing morphed images and even go to the extent of threats and violence, but Facebook doesn't seem concerned at all.

Read post, "Why Facebook gets upset when mischief-makers are exposed?". This is a serious question. Facebook had earlier blocked Dilip C Mandal's account though its official later apologised and restored it.

A possible explanation is that 'organised gangs' are making lot of complaints [report a post] to get accounts that expose their misdeed down, but shouldn't Facebook's officials have the basic understanding that here it is a Navbharat Times news that is exposing hate-mongers.

Or, perhaps, Facebook's staff that is supposed to keep an eye on Hindi content, has soft corner with such hate-mongers and their ideology. Clearly, Facebook's credibility is at stake. You can read Prof Ashutosh Kumar's post.


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